What type of poetry is Shakespeare mocking in Sonnet 130?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Shakespeare's Sonnet CXXX mocks the Elizabethan conventions of poetry that extolled ideal love as well as satirizing the Petrarchan sonnets that compared the object of love to Nature in hyperbolic terms. For, instead of making such flattering comparisons, Shakespeare's speaker places his lover in contrast to the beauties of nature and parodies the lofty language of courtly love.

My mistress' eyes are nothing liek the sun
Coral is far more red than her lips' red;
If snow be white, black wires grow on her head
I have seen roses damask'd, red and white
But no such roses see I in her cheeks....

Authorities believe that the "roses" are allusions to the red and white roses that the House of Tudor adopted as its symbol in the War of Roses, further mocking the exaggerated "false comparisons" of Shakespeare's speaker. Also, in comparison to Sidney's Astrophel and Stella and its courtly love which Shakespeare parodies, the reader can easily detect the elements of the conventional love sonnet as, instead of comparing his love to Venus, Shakespeare speaker writes, instead, of the humanity of his lover who "treads on the ground." Yet, Shakespeare's speaker finds her love rare and treasures it. 

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